Is Buying an RV on Craigslist Safe?
Buying an RV on Craigslist can be a rewarding experience. But it’s essential to know what you’re doing before diving in head-first. Before looking for RVs for sale on Craigslist, consider these five important points.
Why Buy an RV on Craigslist?
While buying an RV on Craigslist might not be as safe or predictable as purchasing an RV from a dealer, there are many legitimate sales and sellers. The key is to arm yourself with the correct information ahead of time. Once you know what to look out for, you can have a great experience no matter where you find your RV.
5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying an RV on Craigslist
When you buy an RV on Craigslist, you’re usually buying from a private seller. Dealerships also utilize the platform, but that is slightly rarer. Here are the top five things you need to know before buying an RV on Craigslist.
1. Know the Common Scams
Unfortunately, there are plenty of scams on Craigslist. If you find an RV with a seriously low price compared to other similar models, floorplans, or years, it’s probably a scam. Scammers often use this tactic to lure in prospective buyers. Often you’ll see a newer or more expensive RV model for less than $10,000.
Email Address on Images
Many scammers will overlay an email address on the images of the ad. Sometimes it’s a normal-looking email address. Other times it’s a bunch of random numbers and letters.
Keep an Eye Out For Strange Formatting
In addition to scammers overlaying text or email addresses on the photos, some use strange formatting in the listing title or body. Strange grammatical errors, random symbols in the title or body, or weird capitalization can signify a scam.
Asking for Money Upfront
If an RV seller asks you for any money upfront or a money order, chances are it’s a scam. Conduct the sale in a public place after seeing, inspecting, and driving the RV. Never send money to hold an RV, especially if you haven’t seen it first.
RV shipping scams are common on eBay, but they can be found on Craigslist too. Typically, the seller will tell you they’re selling the RV for a friend, family member, or acquaintance who either can’t sell it themselves or has fallen on hard times and needs to get rid of it quickly.
They’ll tell you the RV is in storage at a location far from you, so they can’t show it, but they’ve arranged for an insured shipping company to bring it to you. Usually, the “seller” will tell you that you have a grace period to decide to send the RV back if you don’t like it and get a refund.
This is always a scam, and the RV doesn’t exist. In general, if an RV listing seems too good to be true, it is. Use your common sense and do your research. Know the actual value of the RV, never send money upfront, and never buy an RV without seeing it first and getting it inspected.
2. Get It Inspected
Get any RV you plan to buy inspected by a professional. Certified RV inspectors will inspect all areas and components of the RV. RV inspectors aren’t cheap, but they’re worth it. You can find certified RV inspectors near you on the NRVIA website.
3. Never Buy Sight Unseen
Never buy an RV without seeing it first. You shouldn’t send money for an RV without seeing it first. Buying an RV without seeing it first could mean you get scammed or stuck with a lemon.
4. Ask Lots of Questions
Ask your seller a ton of questions. Inquire about the maintenance history, engine, previous owners, storage, and usage. Try to get as much information from the seller about the RV and its history as possible. It’s best to ask these questions in person when viewing the RV.
5. Be Prepared to Negotiate on Price
Prepare to negotiate on price when buying through a private seller. After the RV inspection, you can ask for a fair price based on the findings. Do your research on the year, make, and model. Use websites like RV Trader to find similar RVs for sale and look at RV NADA guides for additional information on RV valuation.
Use Your Common Sense When Buying an RV on Craigslist
Buying an RV on Craigslist can be just like buying an RV anywhere else. The most important thing to remember is to use your common sense. Look out for scams. And when you come across a legitimate RV listing, try to get the most information possible. Buying an RV through online marketplaces doesn’t have to be a scary experience. Have you ever tried Craigslist for buying an RV?